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In a huge win for startup Nest, which makes a connected learning thermostat, Apple(s AAPL) has now started selling the Nest thermostat through its online store (hat tip The Verge). If you recall, Nest founder Tony Fadell was the former chief architect at Apple where he led the development of the iPod and the first three versions of the iPhone. He left Apple three years ago to start Nest.
Not surprisingly Apple and Nest share a similar design sensibility, and the Nest thermostat can also be controlled via an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac. When Nest first launched its thermostat, I called it “a thermostat Steve Jobs would love.”
Not to be too dramatic, but I think this is the most important move ever for a next-generation digital thermostat. Most consumers don’t care a lick about their thermostat and most thermostats are not ever programmed, which leads to major inefficiencies and wasted home energy. If Nest can make its learning thermostat a cool and coveted item (like the iPhone), it could change consumers’ relationships with thermostats and home energy and could lead to significant reductions in home energy consumption.
If you’ve been following Nest, then you probably know that thermostat giant Honeywell(s HON) slapped it with a lawsuit earlier this year, alleging patent infringement. Nest responded to the lawsuit by bringing on Apple’s former Chief Intellectual Property Officer Richard “Chip” Lutton as its new vice president and general counsel.
Apple started selling Nest’s thermostat after the lawsuit was filed. The thermostat is also being sold via Best Buy(s BBY) and via Nest’s online store.